A fine evening finally cleared for Lerwick Up-Helly-A’ 2016 and possibly the best rigged crowd (weather wear wise) ever to watch the fire festival turned out to be over dressed for the occassion.
The maroon went off on time with a thunderous detonation and, torches in hand, Guizer Jarl Mark Evans and his merry men led the way through the town centre streets on the half-hour march to the burning site.
It was, of course, a colourful spectacle and the brass and pipe bands made rousing accompaniment for the variety of vikings, banditos, furry animals of various sorts and assorted guizers as they followed in the wake of the illustrious jarl.
Several thousand turned out to watch the procession, and judging by the accents of many in the crowd, a goodly sprinkling had made the journey north to see the world famous spectacle.
The westerly breeze that helped ignition also threatened to have many of the torches burned out by the time the flower park was being entered, but fear not, the galley went up good style and the hundreds who lined St Olaf Street were kept as warm as most of them had probably been all winter by the wind and showers of sparks.
So that was it for the opening act of Up-Helly-A’ night but there would be plenty more to follow for the Guizer Jarl and his crew.